Wolf conflicts with humans are rare, but if you encounter one, stop, stand tall and do not run. Slowly back away while watching the wolf, but do not make direct eye contact. If the wolf does not retreat and is acting aggressive by holding its tail high, raising its hackles, barking or howling, yell and throw things at it while continuing to back away. If it attacks, fight back aggressively to show you are too dangerous to attack. Wolves are extremely wary of humans and not aggressive toward them by nature. Wolf attacks are the rarest of all large predators, and there are no documented cases of wolves or packs of wolves killing people in North America. They have never been known to attack someone as prey or even while trying to defend their pups. Evidence from a few recent cases of humans being bitten during wild wolf encounters indicates these animals may have been fed by people, thereby losing their natural fear of humans and associating humans with food. In other cases, people may have been injured while trying to break up a fight between their dog and a wolf.
Keep garbage, human and pet food away from campsites and yards. Locate any food source, including bird feeders, 100 yards away from living areas, 10 to 15 feet above the ground, four feet from any tree trunk. Clean up fallen fruit or animal carcasses on the property. Don't burn or bury garbage; carnivores will be attracted to the smell.
Campers should locate tents and sleeping areas 100 yards away from cooking areas and should never sleep in clothes worn during cooking. Secure as well any other odorous items such as toothpaste, cosmetics, gum, pots, utensils and cooking clothes. A good rule of thumb is "Pack it in, pack it out".
Keep pets and small children in sight and under control at all times, and pick them up if a predator animal should approach. When camping, don't leave a pet tied up in your campsite, as it may attract predators. Keep farm animals and pets in enclosed areas, especially at night and during calving or lambing season. Never feed a carnivore or try to approach it.
With a heightened sense of smell, wolves are attracted to interesting and unusual odors; so, properly store food, garbage and other odorous items. Pet dogs, genetic cousins to wolves, are perceived as competitors - especially during the wolves' breeding season. Since wolves are intolerant of dogs in their territory, it is best to leave dogs at home while camping and hiking in wolf country. If you take a pet keep it on a leash at all times and sleep with them in your tent at night.
Run The Planet thanks the the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho (www.cnr.uidaho.edu/cnr) for the permission to reprint the section on wolves of the article "Carnivore Safety Tips". The tips to minimize conflict with predatory animals were gleaned from a workshop about "Living with Carnivores", presented by a coalition of partners and sponsored by the University of Idaho. Representatives were from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services, Defenders of Wildlife, Governor’s Office of Species Conservation, Counter Assault, Idaho Cattle Association, Wolf Education and Research Center and Hornocker Wildlife Institute, among others.